Friday, November 20, 2020

Season 1: Episode 10: "The Wild and the Innocent"

Written by Jorge Zamacona

Directed by Thomas J. Wright

Air Date: January 10, 1997

Guest stars: Heather McComb and Jeffrey Donovan

Opening Quote: "O lord, if there is a lord, save my soul, if I have a soul."

 - Ernest Renan

"The Wild and the Innocent" is an unusual Millennium episode in that Frank Black is more of a supporting character and the story feels more like a Dateline episode.

The plot involves a young couple on the run. Set in Missouri, the episode begins with Maddie's (McComb) boyfriend (Bobby) nearly killing her stepfather (Jim) after he witnessed him assaulting her. It's later revealed Jim is a serial rapist living under a false identity, which draws the interest of the Millennium Group. The episode follows Maddie and Bobby as they go in search of her son who was sold into adoption (a fuzzy plot point). But her boyfriend Bobby is also a violent man who kills people along the way in their search for Maddie's son. 

There's a few issues with the episode. One is the actual plot, which is convoluted and unfolded in a somewhat confusing way. As alluded to earlier Frank and Peter Watts (Terry O'Quinn) aren't given much to do. To its credit, the episode did continue with the recurring theme of the cycle of violence impacting future generations. Heather McComb gives a strong performance as Maddie, the "innocent" trapped in a world of violence from the men in her life. Her narration provides a lyricism to the story (she sounds like Holly Hunter). The episode also begins with a nice family scene with Jordan inquiring of Frank and Catherine whether she will have a sister. 

"The Wild and the Innocent" is a mixed bag of storytelling techniques outside of the show's typical purview, but still compelling as an outlier entry in the series.